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Grant Williams Celtics

(Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

Report: Grant Williams expected to seek ‘$20 million’ annually this offseason

Grant Williams Celtics
(Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

Report: Grant Williams expected to seek ‘$20 million’ annually this offseason

Heading into his first NBA Free Agency, it appears that current Boston Celtics forward Grant Williams is seeking a considerable pay raise.

According to NBA Reporter and insider Marc Stein, the 24-year-old forward is “seeking” a new deal worth “$20 million” annually, using San Antonio Spurs forward Keldon Johnson’s four-year, $74 million extension as an example.

Per Stein, “numerous teams” are monitoring the status of Williams, who’s been a productive piece for the Celtics over the last two seasons. The Celtics, atop the Eastern Conference at 41-16, obviously did not trade him at the trade deadline — only dealing Justin Jackson plus a pair of second-round picks to the Oklahoma City Thunder for shooting big man Mike Muscala. So that’s perhaps a slight indicator on where talks are headed with a new extension.

Nearly two weeks before the extension deadline in October, Williams didn’t seem too worried about any impending deal — leaving it all up to his support system around him to configure those financials while he does his business on the court.

“I leave that stuff up to my agents; that’s between my agents, Brad (Stevens), (Mike) Zarren and those guys,” Williams told the Press Herald in October. “Whatever they want to get done, they want to get done. But for me, I’m just approaching every single day as if I either have it or I don’t have it. Just play the game the right way, make sure the team’s winning and focus on the ultimate goal of mine and that stuff will take care of itself. For me, I’m so locked in on the basketball side of things. Contract, anything of that nature, if it happens, I’ll be happy, but until then, let’s just play it out the way we are.”

Williams is averaging 8.7 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 28.0 minutes per game. He’s shooting 46.4 percent from the floor, 41.0 percent from 3-point range and 83.0 percent from the free-throw line — equating to a 62.0 true-shooting percentage, 1.5 percentage points lower than it was last season. According to Cleaning The Glass, he ranks in the 88th percentile (for his position) in 3-point efficiency, including in the 92nd percentile on corner triples.

Should Boston re-sign Grant Williams to an extension?

Unless Boston’s willing to shed salary elsewhere, it could be looking at its second-straight season paying deep into the tax if it wants to re-sign Williams.

Per Spotrac, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Al Horford, Malcolm Brogdon, Marcus Smart and Robert Williams III are expected to make a combined $143.9 million alone. That’s six players. That’s not accounting for its impending 2023 second-round selections, Danilo Gallinari‘s $6.8M player option, Mike Muscala ($3.5M team-option), Payton Pritchard ($4.0M), Luke Kornet ($2.4M) and Sam Hauser ($1.9M).

Assuming all of those options are exercised, Boston is expected to be approximately $716K above the projected $162M luxury tax figure, netting a luxury tax bill of $1.07 million.

Now let’s dig into some scenarios, under those same parameters:

  • If Williams signs for a starting salary at $10 million, Boston’s luxury tax bill would be: $18.04 million.
  • If the starting salary is at $15 million: $31.08 million.
  • If the starting salary is at $20 million: $47.69 million.
  • If the starting salary is at $25 million: $66.8 million.

That’s … a lot of money. It ultimately might not matter to Brad Stevens and Co. since they’re a contender — the optimal time to be a taxpayer. And the Celtics should be a contender as long as Tatum and Brown are still there.

For perspective, the Celtics are paying the tax (exp. bill: ~$64.49M) this year for the first time since 2018-19. So they would not be a repeat tax offender this year or next, but they run the risk of doing so in the future if they 1.) Give Williams this reported amount of money, or close to it and 2.) Don’t shed salary (i.e. Brogdon, White, Pritchard, Horford, etc.) elsewhere.

Since he’s a restricted free-agent, Boston must account for the risk of other teams driving up the price. There’s a handful of times — the Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers, San Antonio Spurs, Orlando Magic and Detroit Pistons — who have cap-space heading into next offseason. Boston has Williams’ bird rights to match, but at what cost? Is $20+ million worth it? I guess we’ll find out, unless Boston locks him up after the season before he accepts another offer sheet.

***

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